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Friday, July 12, 2013

Sidekicked Blog Tour {Guest Post and Giveaway}

I'm super thrilled to have the Sidekicked Blog Tour stopping by today! Below you'll find a guest post from author John David Anderson and an awesome giveaway. Be sure to check out my review of Sidekicked too.

by John David Anderson
June 25, 2013
Walden Pond Press
 Purchase: Amazon / B&N 

With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility. 

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers. 

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?

Too Many Heroes? Our Love Affair with Men in Tights and the T-Shirts They Spawn
by John David Anderson

Confession: I have not seen Iron Man 3. Nor have I seen Man of Steel (Superman 7, is it?). But it doesn't stop there. I have not seen Elektra, Darkman, Blankman, Judge Dredd, just Dredd, Daredevil, The Rocketeer, The Meteor Man, The Phantom, The Punisher, Ghost Rider, The Green Hornet, Green Lantern, Spawn, Steel, Star Kid or Zoom. But I have seen more people don Batman's suit, it seems, than have won two terms as President of the United States. I have also seen Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Twice. Kids will do that to you. It's not that I don't enjoy superhero movies. I do. A lot. It's just hard to keep up.

As it turns out, more superhero movies have been produced in the last ten years than in the sixty years in between 1951's Superman and the Mole Men and 2011's X-Men First Class (X-Men 4?). And it doesn't look like the momentum is ebbing anytime soon, with new Thor's, Wolverines, Captain Americas, and Spideys ready to grace our screens, soda cups, and toy shelves, not to mention the much awaited debut of Ant Man. That's right. Ant Man. He has a helmet that controls ants. I can't wait for the Happy Meal tie-in.
Which prompts the question: Are we too saturated with superheroes? The answer is no. Of course not. What kind of dastardly, nefarious villain would even ask such a thing? As someone who has penned a superhero novel, I embrace our seemingly insatiable yen for the bright and shining men and women in spandex. But I do wonder where it comes from, this obsession of ours. Why so many superhero stories now?
Part of it, of course, is simply a matter of pyrotechnics. We've gotten better at blowing stuff up on screen, and the battle between good and evil lends itself well to big budget special effects. Let's face it, the face-off between Superman and Lex Luthor in the original Superman wasn't really Michael Bay material. Give me Hulk throwing tanks and universes collapsing. Eye candy tastes fabulous.
Part of it is George Lucas's fault. The man who taught us that a book or movie is not just a piece of art but the chance to create an empire. I should know. I have Star Wars-themed pancake shapers. I'm not completely naive. I understand the economics. We don't spit out Spiderman movies because we want to watch the character evolve. We spit them out so that the voice-changing mask and web-slinging wrist cannons will be out in time for the Halloween costume rush. Hollywood, and to a certain extent, the publishing world, has been in the grips of franchise fever for a while, to the point that "one off" is an almost derogatory term—something with no sequel potential, no mass merch tie in, no chance for a bobble-head, is lucky to make a dent in our collective cultural consciousness.
And yet, I can't help but feel there is something deeper at work. Something in our enduring fascination with caped crusaders and their gawky sidekicks that makes us consume anything with a symbol on its chest and a ___________-mobile in its lair with unbridled ferocity. Maybe it's a function of a Post 9/11 world, a rekindling of our need for assurance, a sense of justice rightly served. In a world where "evil" is at once omnipresent and amorphous, it helps ease our conscience to know that in some universes, at least, good comes equipped with a giant red, white, and blue shield that can deflect just about anything the bad guys can throw at it.
Or maybe it's our impatience with evolution at work, wanting to be faster, smarter, stronger than we are, as our athletes and movie stars supplement themselves with drugs and implants in the hopes of mutating into something greater. Our imaginations long ago outstripped our ability. In superheroes we find an image of our ideal selves, overcoming our own personal kryptonites, engaging in the kind of altruistic, save-the-world behavior that most of us find admirable but simply don't have time for. Which is all well and good, provided our worship of these paragons pushes us to better ourselves. Unfortunately I'm not sure we always give it that much thought. Sometimes we just want to watch stuff explode, to paraphrase a certain iconic butler.
And it worries me slightly. Because as much as I'd love for a ten year old boy to look up to Superman or Iron Man or even the protagonist from my own book, I'd like him to find someone real to admire as well. To emulate his favorite teacher, or a local firefighter, a returning soldier, or even a forthright politician. There is something to be said for the recent trend in superhero fictions of all kinds in depicting their protagonists' flaws. I'm all for humanizing our pretend heroes. It shows us that none of us is impervious to error or a lapse in judgment. But I also hope that reading comics and books and watching the latest origin story of Spiderman helps us to look around at the very real, flawed, mortal, ordinary people around us and see how they, too, are capable of extraordinary feats of courage and kindness.
It doesn't hurt to have someone to look up to, and it's nice to have so many heroes to choose from. But it doesn't take laser vision or an arc reactor to improve the world around you. Just a little imagination, a lot of initiative, and maybe a sidekick or two cheering you on.

John David Anderson
John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked and Standard Hero Behavior. He doesn't even know who Blankman is and he's pretty sure Lava Girl could kick Shark Boy's butt. You can find out more about him at or on Facebook at JohnDavidAndersonAuthor.

Win a signed hardcover copy of Sidekicked!
Thanks to Walden Pond Press I have one signed hardcover copy of Sidekicked to give away.
-will end 7/21
-must be 13+, one main/free entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes in the mail (prize will be sent directly from Walden Pond Press)
Fill out the Rafflecopter form:

Don't miss any of the other stops on this blog tour!
Check out the full schedule HERE


RadaliciouScents said...

This looks really good! Congrats on your release!!!!

Mrs. Miller said...

Love the post - I like superheroes but don't tend to go to the movies much - only with the kids. I like to read about them though. The book looks great - can't wait to read it!

Lisa Dunick said...

My boys would love this!!

@teacher6th said...

Great book to add to my classroom library! thanks for sharing!!!

Batch of Books said...

I love the premise! Can't wait to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway!

Holly Bryan said...

This was a great post! I love the author's way of looking at who our heroes and heroines are! I'm with him 100% on being all for humanizing our pretend heroes so we can recognize our REAL heroes really are -- after all, they walk beside us every day! I live the author's sense of humor, and I'd really love to read this. (So much so that I've been stalking (ahem) the book's blog tour :))

Thanks for being a part of the blog hop -- I love supporting bloggers I follow who are also NC gals :) (of which there are MANY, I'm discovering!). And thank you to the author and Walden Pond Press for the giveaway!

PS -- oh yeah...Lava Girl would **totally** prevail over silly old Shark Boy should their relationship ever come to an impasse of some sort!! (Like if she ever finds out he's in fact NOT a wereshark but ...(dunh dunh dunh)... a wereWOLF!!!)

Hong Tran said...

It looks like a great book to read.

Cheers for the fun interview :)

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